MOSCOW, (Reuters) – A statement from the Group of Seven nations condemning Russia for its actions in Georgia was biased and set out to justify Georgian aggression, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
On Wednesday the G7 criticised Moscow’s decision to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and “deplored Russia’s excessive use of military force in Georgia and its continued occupation of parts of Georgia”. “This step is biased and is aimed at justifying the aggressive actions of Georgia,” the ministry said in a statement.
The G7 statement “makes baseless assertions about Russia undermining Georgia’s territorial integrity”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “It ignores Russia’s well-argued stance in favour of the difficult but, under the existing circumstances, the only right decision to recognise South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s independence,” the ministry said.
The crisis flared earlier this month when Georgian forces tried to retake the separatist province of South Ossetia and Russia launched an overwhelming counter-attack.
Russian forces swept the Georgian army out of the rebel region and are still occupying some areas of Georgia proper. On Tuesday Moscow announced that it was recognising South Ossetia and another pro-Moscow breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent states.
Moscow has defied pressure from the United States and European powers to pull all of its troops out of Georgia.
The Foreign Ministry said Russia had implemented in full a French-brokered ceasefire deal with Georgia. “Russian troops have been pulled back,” it said. “In accordance with this plan, some Russian peacekeepers remain deployed in a security zone neighbouring South Ossetia.”